Minimalist-To be or not to be?

April 19, 2019


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By: Carla Saiki, Amani Institute Social Innovation Management Fellow 

After many assignments, meetings, workshops, readings, and projects about social innovation, I had to refresh my mind. So, I started to look for interesting events happening in Bangalore. After nearly 10 years in the corporate sector, I have shifted back to being a student and have adopted a frugality mindset. I ended up attending this meeting about Minimalism.

What do I know about Minimalism? I watched a documentary on Netflix, I also love Marie Kondo tips, and I definitely don’t like accumulating thing after watching episodes of Hoarders. Are those experiences enough?
I also learned that minimalist people live with less than 100 items, they buy tiny houses. They do not have more than 5 shirts, all in the same color. 

This sounds difficult, right? Well, it seems that minimalism has different types or levels, as I learned through this event. There are some people who try to live without buying new stuff, so, if they need a new shirt, they ask a friend if they have extra clothes to give them or simply exchange a shirt for a book for example. There was also a radical person at this meeting who talked about living without a fridge, and for that, she would to go to the grocery store and only buy the amount of food she was going to eat that day. But, to my surprise, there were lots of stories of people, who were just looking for minimalist ideas to live with less and avoid accumulating tons of stuff.

So, maybe this is the reason minimalism attracts so many people now. Not for the idea that you need to be able to live with a certain quantity of items in your house, but, for the notion, we need to be more conscious about the meanings we give to things. Our relationship with material possessions and the possibility of living with less and focusing on what really matters.

It is not that you can’t buy the things you want, but it is about detaching. In conclusion, it will probably give you more freedom to have only meaningful objects, getting rid of the excess, and getting a clear sense of what is really important to you.

I couldn’t avoid relating this to the moment of moving to live in a different country. The experience of packing and thinking – how can I put my home into two bags of 23 kilograms each? makes you ask yourself what you really need. And, at some point in this journey, we, as changemakers, must understand we need to be conscious of how we are living. We owe this to ourselves. We must focus on what really matters and walk the talk.

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